Voter turnout for police commissioners next week could be as low as 15%, a new poll warned today.
The news came as the Home Office road-tested a new slogan on Twitter in a bid to drum up interest in the vote.
"Remember, remember the 15th of November. Ten days to police & crime commissioner elections," the department said.
Commissioners will replace police authorities as watchdogs and draw up priorities for local communities after the elections, but there is a concern their democratic legitimacy is so low they will be weakened from the start.
Other critics warn the move could bring about the politicisation of the police.
The Ipsos MORI poll for the Association of Police and Crime Commission (APCC) found just three per cent knew much about new role.
David Cameron told last week's PMQs turnout would be limited because it was a new election, but opponents of the plan say the public's lack of interest reflects the fundamental flaws of the scheme.
A Home Office spokesperson said: "The arrival of police and crime commissioners will be the most significant democratic reform of policing ever, giving the public a real say in how their communities are policed.
"We have been publicising PCCs and their benefits to local communities for more than two years.”